The world of freelancing, the gig economy, the makerspace economy, and the best-laid plans of synergistic offline and online businesses, services, and retailers all have one thing in common: adaptability. It is the link holding this whole crazy chain together. Because, to quote Ferris Bueller, “The world moves pretty fast. If you don’t look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
From Bricks to Clicks and Back Again
I began thinking about what it means to be adaptable. So, in light of recent events at Sears, I thought it best to begin there. Sears, Roebuck & Company began over 120 years ago in the late 1880s. For years, I thought their focus had always been in relation to the agricultural community. But, I was wrong. Sears began with an unsolicited shipment of watches and was initially called the R.W. Sears Watch Co. Richard Sears, a train operator, saw an opportunity and took the risk. Entrepreneurial, wouldn’t you say?
In protest of high markups at the rural general stores, Sears discovered a niche of how to “cut out the middle man” and was one of the first companies to offer mail-order catalogs and create direct mail offers. Sears himself wrote the copy. They sold everything from farm equipment to baby carriages – 532-pages of goods! The turn-of-the-century version of websites today. Changes abound in Sear’s 120+ year history and you can read more about it here. But, again, what Sears did, what kept them hanging on then and now was their unerring capacity for being flexible and adaptable to the changing times.
Turning on a Dime
The header above, if you’ve never heard it, is an expression which reflects the ability to turn quickly, change pace and/or direction. Another phrase for adaptability. Flexibility. The ability to change, as needed or as desired, with the times. Even Amazon has done it. The online retail giant is opening brick-and-mortar bookstores. Remember those places you could hang out with other readers, read a few pages of a book, feel and smell the mustiness which doesn’t seem to evaporate even now, and bask in the silent delight of new knowledge. Solitary endeavors are old. We seek out new people, new places.
Small towns in America are finding their centers again. Quite literally, their town center. The updated general store where people meet and talk, where there might only be a few USB plugs for your laptop. A place where you’re encouraged to talk to real people about work and life.
As a Freelancer….
I’m actually waiting for this term to go out of style. The term “free lance” began in the Middle Ages and meant simply, a knight who had no particular allegiances to a king. The only difference between “free lance” then was – will work for the highest bidder and now is – will work for lowest bidder.
I don’t mean to say that anyone who calls themself a freelancer will actually work for the lowest bidder, though some do, but that it is perception from those who don’t know or understand. Thankfully, there are those building awareness and legislation now exists in New York due to the efforts of the Freelancer’s Union and their #Freelanceisn’tFree Campaign.
But I digress.
How Being Adaptable Carved an Unexpected Niche
If you follow my blog, you know how much I love to read. I take my time writing. But, I am a speed reading demon thanks to a 6th-grade speed reading class. So, when my eyes are glazed over from writing 3000-5000 words a day or a week, I take a quick catnap or cook or head to the gym – whatever – just to get my head out of the game for a bit. Then, I pick up a book.
Our third week per month daily Book Review posts have lead to several authors reaching out to me to have them read and review their books. Some paid, some unpaid. Recently, a publishing house reached out. And I learned yesterday, one of the review companies I read for has named me a VIP Reader. Pretty cool!
But, these posts have lead to more than that – several university students have reached out for help and guidance on their academic papers, another is being coached in starting their own copywriting business, and recently someone reached out for editing prices. Even an upcoming interview for another ghostwriting project. Super excited to see what I learn about this year! Ghostwriting is one of the best ways to learn something new. More on that in another post.
Some projects I’ve taken on have lead to new avenues I never expected. Some projects have been too overwhelming and I learned what I’m not good at. But, it all boils down to one thing which has opened up regular and unusual paths. Adaptablity.
So, how adaptable are you? What have you done you thought you’d never find yourself doing? What unexpected paths do you find yourself on this year? Please feel free to reach out via the comments below or send me a direct message.
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Break a Pencil!